5 best floral wallpapers – bring the hotel-look home

Hotel interiors are a bit of an obsession of mine. I love a good nosey round a hotel and then translating looks found in my favourites into interiors in the home. Lately I’ve been loving some of the gorgeous wallpapers I’ve seen and these bold, brave prints can definitely be introduced into our lounges and bedrooms, or indeed any room to remind us of our weekends away from the day to day.

Divine Savages – wallpaper wonders – as seen at The Bird, Bath

Summer is our key time to get a staycation in the diary, but now that we are heading into the cooler seasons, a nod to florals will help get us through until those brave first Spring flowers inject some colour and a hint of whats to come.

The Hoxton – Paris

Botanical, floral and garden-inspired prints and imagery have been with us for a season or two now and they’re not going anywhere soon. Its no coincidence that magnolia, peonies and monstera flood our Instagram feeds and who could miss the annual wisteria hysteria? We LOVE our gardens and plants (even if some of us cant keep them alive for very long) and its one of the reasons these wallpapers are so popular.

THAT leaf at The Beverley Hills Hotel

Whether your tastes err on the Scandi and firmly at one-stem-in-a-vintage jar or are more all-out WI-on-acid bold blooms, these wallpapers are nothing if not striking.  The British love-affair with horticulture shows no sign of slowing and its go bold and go home where floral wallpaper is concerned.

Here are five of my faves.

Forbidden Blooms from Divine Savages. “This wallcovering features beautifully illustrated floral blooms mysteriously intertwined with sweeping serpents for a wild and untamed interior”.

Bamboo Garden – Linwood (Tango collection) “Featuring large scale tropical prints with floral accents; Tango is a lively and bright collection”.

Dark Floral II – Ellie Cashman “My floral wallpapers are original, high-quality design products featuring my signature floral prints. They are suited to a wide range of private, public and commercial spaces. Your imagination is the limit! My vision is that walls can be more than just functional structures that divide spaces and hold up ceilings. Walls can be art!”

Wisteria Noir – Pearl Lowe ” “I only really realised how beautiful wisteria was, when we bought a house along a river a few years ago. The wisteria came out in May and it was the most enchanting thing I ever saw. So to be able to put it in a wallpaper or a fabric is a dream.”

Graham & Brown – Bloomsbury Mint “Bloomsbury captures the delicate designs of the 20th Century. Explore the medley of florals and the essence of the Boho Victorian aesthetic in this enchanting wallpaper print”.

THYME

These big, blousy prints are an easy way of capturing that hotel chic and bringing it back home. Two of my top hotel interior crushes are the Artist Residence group and Kit Kemp’s incredible portfolio of hotels. In the Oxford Artist Residence you will find the perfect harmony of florals alongside more cool country-luxe styling. Free standing baths and William Morris wallpaper, yes – but with neon wall art and crazy-good sofas.

If you’re talking hotels you’re probably already talking Kit Kemp, but no conversation about pattern and colour in hotels can actually take place without mentioning her incredible interiors. For a fuller picture, follow her on Instagram. For an idea of some fabulous florals, here is taster.

The notion of taking hotel looks home with you takes on new meaning when we can now purchase items directly from the designer’s concept. Via such outlets as Soho Home, Hoxton Hotels and Kit Kemp (at Bergdorf Goodman in NYC); soft furnishings, dinnerware, furniture, lighting, textiles and all manner of accessories are up for purchase. Recognising that travellers want to keep a little bit of what they love about a hotel with them, these forward thinking brands have offered us the opportunity to bring the hotel home. So you can take the toiletries and robe back out of your bag….

Hotel Du Vin – Exeter

Rugby and the opportunity for some child-free time meant we had at least two good reasons to head West for the weekend. In my book, one is enough but two or more must not be ignored. We headed for Exeter and booked the Hotel Du Vin as we haven’t stayed with them in years and wanted to check out the unusual building.

Hotel Du Vin Exeter

The hotel itself is on the sight of an old eye hospital and whilst that could potentially feel a bit Scooby-Doo and creepy, it really doesn’t. That said, there are a few artifacts from the building’s medical past but they look really great alongside some more of Hotel Du Vin‘s mid-century touches.

Centrally located, Hotel Du Vin is ideal for seeing the rest of Exeter (though if you are heading for rugby the ground is a little further out of town). Aside from the cathedral and some beautiful heritage buildings, there are lots of nice cafes and shops to explore. The cute quayside area is worth a visit too .

Image: Visit Exeter

I gave the match a swerve and availed myself of some downtime exploring the hotel interior and a glass of fizz with a book in the bar. Sensible me thinks, as it poured.

Plenty of contemporary well-designed public spaces in the hotel to find yourself a nook. Quite a few tables in one of the large public rooms were filled with afternoon tea gatherings and definitely some hen-party action. If that’s not your cup of tea (see what I did there?) then you can head for the library and some peace.

As we planned to be out and about for most the weekend, we didn’t splash out on a deluxe double or the Studio but our ‘Superior Double’ was totally welcoming and not at all poky. The bed was ultra comfortable and we had a minibar, great wifi and good coffee machine; all nice touches. The en-suite was compact but had a bath and shower in a contemporary style with metro tiles and REN toiletries (Yessssssss – my favourite).

Hotel breakfasts are the make or break of a good hotel stay, no? I just love this bit of a weekend so they have to get it right. This should include; people watching, a choice of interesting food (which you haven’t cooked yourself), decent coffee and a leisurely read of the papers. Happy to report it was marvellous. The bonus with Hotel Du Vin Exeter is the view from the breakfast setting with floor to ceiling windows. We loved it.

Image : Hotel Du Vin

From the restaurant/breakfast room you can view the walled garden, potting shed and find your way to the spa. The REN Spa would be the perfect place to enjoy a little piece of tranquility in the city location and luxe-out your stay. There there is also an inside/outside pool and workout suite but we didn’t get time to try either of those sadly on this visit.

To digest our feast, we returned to Exeter Quay for a walk along the waters edge. People were engaging in all sorts of activity; canoeing, cycling etc but for the Sunday sloths among us, there were plenty cafes and spots to just watch the world go by or grab a drink.

Puerto Lounge, Exter Quay

Even without the lure of an away match, the other half agreed that for a chilled-out weekend, Exeter is a pretty safe bet. The Hotel Du Vin offers an iconic building with a unique personality to stay in and with comfy beds, power showers and a pool I’ve now got THREE reasons to go back.

Doubles from £75 excluding breakfast.

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The Hoxton Holborn

London hotels are plentiful, this we know (though not all can guarantee to fulfil their claims of stylish, friendly and still come with a capital price-tage). One of my main criteria for hotel selection is the interior inspiration available (no prizes for guessing that one). If we are getting away from the little handbrakes for a night or the weekend then I am going wring every last drop of enjoyment out of the time away!

Friendly and stylish check-in, good start ( Image @ Enismore)

Levels of inspo run high at ALL the Hoxton hotels and top of my wishlist for next year would be their latest opening in Portland (though I would settle for Paris or Amsterdam, I’m good like that).

Closer to home, the Holborn and Shoreditch open-house style hotels are certainly worth a visit if, like me, time away is not always just about somewhere to crash. Downtime in your average Hoxton means a feast for the eyes as well as the appetite.

There is an excellent selection of room types at Hoxton Holborn; for solo travellers, couples, small families and even an apartment (six rooms to choose from, plus a communal pantry kitchen that flips to a bar of an evening). The Apartment has room for 250 revellers which is presumably ideal for a relaxed wedding or fancy 40th type occasion.

So, to the interiors. The ‘open-house’ style makes for a relaxing vibe and there are sofas and breakout spaces to loll with the papers and a coffee. Or the super cool Hubbard & Bell bar for a cold beer or a pretty decent negroni and some all day dining. There is a Brooklyn/NYC feel to the public spaces (lots of wood, leather and metal accents) which I love. Just a nod though, a theme hotel this is not. You can hang with locals and global citizens alike, everyone is welcome and enjoying the offering.

Elsewhere in the hotel there are great interior touches too. You know I love a well-designed loo (what? It says a LOT about a venue). ThereforeI am happy to report the Holborn doesn’t disappoint. A great, industrial, roughed-up-luxe scheme and some super monochrome flooring.

Monochrome makes its way up to the bathroom too – our en-suite was a fab black & white tile fest. Compact but not claustrophobic, the shower was powerful (a must for any hotel-stay) and the towels were fluffy (also essential). Great-smelling, wall-mounted toiletries (extra Styleopoints for not using horrid tiny plastic bottles) also add to the feel of a upscale but not stuffy stay.

Our bedroom was styled with retro / mid-century touches and the circular wall mirror almost filled the wall. Outside there was a row of super-cool cinema seats and some wall lights which could have been vintage, possibly from a super stylish, communist-era military facility. Awesome.

Local illustrators designed the bespoke wallpaper (scenes from Dickens novels I’ll have you know!) and Central St Martins students created the art for the bedrooms. Local stuff is clever stuff. Larger rooms have space for a kid’s bed or cot and the Hoxton Holborn accepts your furry friend too. I am referring to a dog, not those people that like to dress up as animals (though am sure no-one would bat an eyelid at them either).

Whatever size room you select, you can expect the same ‘Hox Perks’. That’s free wi-fi, an hour’s free international calls, and a light breakfast bag delivered to your door each morning. The fridge comes stocked with fresh milk and free water ( in a recyclable tetra pak – huzzah) and you can fill it yourself with beers, wines or softs sold at totally reasonable prices at the front desk. There is also a full breakfast menu available down in the easy-going, open plan area with an excellent selection of seating (large social refectory-style tables, banquettes, bar and circular settings for two).

 Holborn Hoxton has got hipster coffee, snacks and late night cocktails down (and the Chicken Shop in the basement is great for interior instagrammers AND for lunch or dinner).

The hotel is really well -located for transport links and relaxed walks around the city. A stone’s throw from Covent Garden, Oxford Street, Bloomsbury and Farringdon, in Holborn, you’re never far from anything. Plenty of bars and restaurants to check out nearby. We went out for the evening to see a band and walked back to the hotel for drinks, where a super-cool crowd had ditched the laptops and newspapers and were now getting all social in the super stylish bar.

The relaxed vibe, central location, excellent service plus destination restaurant and bar, means The Hoxton, Holborn is one of my favourites. Work, rest and play like a (hip) local. Rates from £130. Sign up for special offers.

199-206 High Holborn, London, WC1V 7BD
www.thehoxton.com

Cotswold Cool – Spring weekend getaway

Cool interiors in the Cotswolds? Hell yeah.

“Cotswold weekend away?” my friends said. I rolled my eyes out loud. Imagining headscarves and tweed jacket and cafés called Binkie’s I just couldn’t commit. Then I remembered I had three children and a very needy rescue puppy and offered to drive.

I did exactly what I tell the kids not to do…imagined I wouldn’t like something without TRYING it first and shame.on.me.  It was all kinds of fabulous. The eating, the shopping, the scenery and some seriously cool bars and to boot.  Granted, there was a fair bit of tweed and the odd lesser-spotted Sloane-ranger, but it was also absolutely gorgeous and the house we stayed in provided some insta-grammable moments for sure.

Interiors at a Cotswold house  near Tetbury for a weekend stay or getaway. Great interiors and contemporary art.

With a morning coffee from Cafe 53 on board we hit the shops running and the mix of antique emporiums, high end interiors and edgy little homeware havens satiated the urge to splurge. We all bought vases for spring flowers, scandi short candles and the most gorgeous interiors accessories from Cwytch. There were a few Spring wardrobe purchases too though frankly Tetbury is synonymous with interiors for me.

Seriously impressive was the Close hotel and we did make a stop for a pre lunch drink here. Clearly subject to a recent renovation, the interiors here would not look out of place in a top magazine.  Gorgeous furnishings, artwork, and fabulous paint choices. Excellent stuff.

The Close Hotel in Tetbury, Dark and contemporary  interiors styled with spring flowers. A cool cotswold hotel for lunch drinks or dinner.
gallery wall art at the Close hotel. Great gallery wall of animals in the bar of this Tetbury Hotel.
My gallery wall at home is based on this great animal collection at The Close
cafe 53 a great cafe with interiors to die for in the Cotswolds cool hub of Tetbury.
Cafe 53 brunch, lunch and definitely for tea and cake

In a manoeuvre the Red Arrows would be proud of, we performed a starburst move to collect the cars, wine and a quick detour via the cake shop before heading back to our house for the night #allthefoodgroups

Mixing styles & periods is my favourite interiors look (aside from full-blown-art-deco) and our accommodation did this brilliantly. A quaint cottage down a winding lane but so much more thanks to an amazing architect-led renovation. Contemporary prints on fabrics and cushions with period wing-back chairs and vintage slate floors. Yum. Modern bathrooms concealed behind sliding walls with hessian floors and exposed roof timbers. Yay. Fashionable and quirky modern art hung over a traditional open wood fireplace….when can I move in?

Interiors shot for the very lovely house we had our weekend getaway at in Tetbury, Cotswolds. Instead of a hotel, we hired a house.

Predictably, some might say, the evening was fairly liquid and led to the early on-set of pyjamas ready for a second day exploring what the Cotswolds had to offer.

The weather was our only challenge on day 2 and sensibly, coffee and papers in front of the fire prevailed. Plenty of pinch-me moments occurred as we realised no one had; waited outside a cold church hall or on a side-line, refereed a squabble or cleared up an unsavoury accident for nearly 24 hours. We had also finished several drinks whilst they were STILL HOT. Eureka.

We headed to the water for an hour or two; so many crazy ways of getting yourself utterly and toally wet are available in the area with its amazing water parks. After a thorough soaking attempting to wakeboard, we headed for my happy place – a hotel!

Calcot Manor and Spa entrance. A beautiful  hotel  with amazing interior details. Charming Cotswolds but with a contemporary feel. Great for lunch.
Welly welcome at Calcot Manor and Spa
Calcot Manor and Spa entrance. A beautiful  hotel  with amazing interior details. Charming Cotswolds but with a contemporary feel. Great for lunch.
contemporary Cotswold touches at Calcot Manor
Calcot  Manor hotel exterior. HOtel has gorgeous gardens and  a spa too. great for a staycation.
An amazing place to warm up and chill out on cold Spring days

Calcot Manor was absolutely ideal for some re-fuelling before re-entry into the atmosphere of family life.  We opted for more casual dining and their Gumstool Inn was just what we were after. Mac & cheese all round worked a major miracle (or that was possibly the treacle tart we had after?)

The Gumstool Inn is part of the hotel but offers less formal dining
Relaxed (but no less tasty) dining at The Gumstool Inn

Here we did spot a couple of headscarves ‘n’ tweed but I am pleased to report only on the over 70s couple lunching with their grandkids (and they didn’t try and shoot us and hang us up to cure). The interiors here at Calcot were as good as the food with gorgeous Spring flowers on every windowsill.

I  hold my hands up #lifeafterlondon continues to inspire me and I thoroughly enjoyed my Cotswold adventure even though it was artic conditions. What a beautiful spot with some incredibly creative and cool outposts. Coming back when it’s official rose weather.